‘FTC wants to block merging of Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp’

The US trade watchdog may want to ban Facebook from merging its social media and chat apps. The Federal Trade Commission does not want the company to allow Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram to work together.

That writes the Wall Street Journal based on sources within the government organization. The FTC would consider a court order to suspend plans to integrate the apps with each other. Facebook would thereby hinder competition, but the integration would also make it more difficult to split the company in the future.

Facebook is working on a way to provide the chat services Messenger and WhatsApp and the social medium Instagram with the same underlying technology. This would make it possible to exchange messages with each other without having to switch applications. According to the federal trade regulator, this makes it much more difficult for other software developers to compete with Facebook. The company has been under fire for some time for other practices that hamper competition.

Also, according to the sources of the Wall Street Journal, such a plan would make it more difficult to split the company. Politicians and agencies have been proposing for years to curb the power of large tech companies by splitting them up. In Facebook’s case, that would mean WhatsApp and Instagram should operate as separate entities. However, if the apps work more closely together, that process would become much more difficult. According to WSJ sources, the first plans could be implemented in as little as a month.